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Market Responsibly

Market Responsibly

When the moon is in the seventh house and enough calendar weeks have passed, you will receive a certain type of email. We all will.

“It’s payday! Treat yourself!” 

“It’s a Payday Party"

“Payday is here!”

“Your wallet will thank you”

“Go all out this payday”

“The only thing better than payday: Sale”

“What are you doing spending your hard-earned money on food and shelter? Spend it all! Here. Now”

I may have made that last one up - the rest are very real - but are they responsible?

To market, to market

Email marketing can be great. It can be used to spread the word about a product, a service, a movement or even an idea. The question is not whether we should all be using the power of email to shout about the great things we’ve been working on, we most certainly should - the question is "are we doing so responsibly?"

Modern advertising dates back to the 19th century and now we may laugh at the old newspaper ads that bluntly told readers they were frail, stupid, smelly and useless but this new product or service would change all of that. In this, the 21st century, we like to think that we’ve moved past the bullish world of ‘Buy my product, or else’ marketing, especially as we have so much choice now. We’re not restricted to one brand of soap, one broadband provider, one estate agent - we have options. 

Burning a hole in your pocket

So a lot of B2C marketing has changed tack. Now that a department store may not be the only place locally that you could purchase a new t-shirt and they can’t claim that it’s the best t-shirt you’ll ever own, there’s an ongoing trend of ‘why not?’ You just got paid, you may have some disposable income, why not buy this t-shirt from this department store?

One may argue that the customer doesn’t have to sign up for the emails and they certainly don’t have to buy the product but is it right that every time pay day rolls around, we should be inundated with messages that amount to ‘I know you have money, send it our way’? 

Vote with your £

Many people have a limited budget each month and they are voting with every pound they spend. Each email is a rallying cry of ‘vote for me!’ Throw in a limited time offer and many are powerless to resist, but is that good for the company? The customer may have money now but what about when they don’t? Will they stay loyal to a brand when they purchased purely for the sake of it?

Can a company truly say that it has faith in its product if it markets not on the strengths of that product but on the customer’s access to funds? 

Is it fair to ask someone to buy from you purely because they can?

Playing to strengths 

If marketing focuses on the strengths of what they are selling first then the customer can properly weigh it up against other options. If you’re offering something and you’ve clearly demonstrated why it’s great and your direct competitor's only message is ’Spend it here!’ Then you’ve offered the more compelling argument. 

Hopefully then we’ll arrive at a place where we all shout about the merit of our products and services, not merely that we know the customer has money. 



Frances Smolinski

Created on Wednesday July 31 2019 08:00 AM


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Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Lately I have been thinking, if 10% (6.68 million) of the UK population are dyslexic why is making a website dyslexia friendly not as important as providing a site in different languages?

Dyslexia awareness has come a long way since I was a child, I remember being told “you’re just a bit stupid” when I struggled in school, as society’s awareness increases,  I can see that those days are far behind us. Dyslexia affects a persons ability to learn, read, and spell, but it’s not related to intelligence, and charities such as, backed by Richard Branson, have done a great job at promoting and changing public perception.

What’s the problem?
One of the most common traits of people with dyslexia is difficulty reading. Dyslexics read at an average of 50 - 150 words per a minute, the average reading speed of a non-dyslexic is 250 words per minute. There are interactive examples, such as Dan Britton’s typeface that let you experience what reading is like for someone with dyslexia. 

Whether you have an Ecommerce site or a wiki, you want everybody to find it easy to read the content you provide.

What can be done? A few simple steps:
Research from Dyslexia Help has found that there are certain font types that have an impact on reading speeds for people with dyslexia. A font has been specially developed called ‘OpenDyslexic’ to give optimum reading speed. Although this is down to the preference of the user, some of the best fonts for an increase in reading speed are Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana, CMU, Sans Serif, Monospaced, and Roman Font.

When it comes to colour, contrast is an important factor for a dyslexic. Generally, people with dyslexia find it difficult to read with high contrast levels and read faster when contrast levels are lower. The standard black text on a white background is not beneficial to people with dyslexia as it can appear too dazzling. Off-whites and pastel colours are generally a good alternative to white and offer a lower contrast.

Icons / Pictures
The phrase; ”a picture paints a thousand words” can most definitely be applied to a dyslexia friendly website. Pictures and icons are a dyslexic's best friend, if you can you use an icon in place of text then this can drastically reduce the time that a dyslexic user spends trying to work out what it is on the page.

In school exams dyslexics are given 25% extra time. Therefore it’s good practice to apply the same rule to moving elements on your site, such as carousels, so that they have time to read and process the content.

These are just some small, simple changes - but there is far more that can be done, just check out the British Dyslexia Association for a full style guide.


Dan Stephenson

Created on Thursday July 04 2019 12:05 PM

Tags: website accessibility disability content contentstrategy screenreader webdesign

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Your web presence - are you doing enough?

Do more. Mac on desk workspace

What is web presence?

Web presence in a nutshell is all things digital that represent and showcase your business or organisation and brand online.

This can include your website, targeted email campaigns, regular e-newsletters, digital branding; where areas of your branding is adapted for web use, this should match any physical or offline branding but be optimised for web use such as colours, logo size and quality or fonts. Web presence also includes the following:

·Social media, the use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or online networking through LinkedIn to build reach.

·Content; On page, regular blog posts or videos.

·Organic Search on and off site, or PPC campaigns through Google or even Facebook depending upon your audience.

Importance of an online presence

Why is this so important? Well, your web presence is your voice before a prospect gets to talk to you, it is your virtual shop window. It creates a platform for businesses and organisations to strengthen their brand and entice prospects.

A professional looking site has the potential to level the playing field between the smaller and larger businesses.

Your web presence is where you can raise your creditability, show your expertise within your industry and increase the trust and authority you hold over any niche services.

I hear a lot of people say that they gain their new business through referrals. Well that may well be true, but that referral will more than likely check the website to ensure they do in fact offer what the referred person needs. For example, when someone recommends a restaurant or hotel you most likely check it out on TripAdvisor and go through their website too. If they didn't have a website or had no offsite reviews or social media presence at all would you trust that referral? Probably not, you would click else where just as this prospect would.

Your website needs to showcase your brand, who you work with, what you do and how you do it and the other avenues of your web presence should align to this too. This in turn will aid the sustainability and growth of the business.

B2B customers get up to 70% of the way through the buying journey before they're ready to talk to anyone about making a purchase and the average paying customer will have had 7 touch points before converting. These touch points can vary in platform hence why the web presence is so important. They may read a leaflet, see a post on Facebook, follow you on other social media channels, sign up to a newsletter, visit a shop and have numerous visits to the website, all before making a purchase or signing up for a service. For 81% of people looking to make a purchase they will look to the internet, if you aren't there then that potential customer will find someone who is.

To stay ahead of the game with this trend you need to show up in the initial research phase which will most likely include a Google search and looking through the first few organic rankings. You should also have a fast loading, easy to use, responsive website that has https on any data gathering pages at the very least. Having reviews or case studies available to users and relevant, engaging content can also be a real game changer in conversion rates for you.

Working on digital content

Doing enough?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you are doing enough with your web presence. No one expects a business or organisation to necessarily be covering every point that's been mentioned within this post. Generally speaking, to get going you need a good website that is built professionally so that it can achieve what you want it to, is fully responsive and secure (https) that is then filled with engaging, relevant content.

Having a blog as part of your website is a great way to keep people coming back as you can let them know when new content has arrived. You can use a blog to promote certain products and services or tell customers and prospects what the company has been up to! As part of this content (including blogging) there should be potential to cover some on site SEO (search engine optimisation) this can be done by creating on page quality content that covers services, products or information that you want to rank for. The rest of this can be done with the set-up of your site or through most CMS (content management systems) post going live.

It is also best to set up a Google my business profile and ensure all the details match those of your website. Finally having some sort of social media presence is becoming more and more important and relevant. Rather than trying to cover every platform choose one or two that seem good for your audience and master them through regular posting of great content and sharing of other relevant content that you may come across. Remember you can do PPC campaigns on social so when you feel confident and have some budget for extra marketing they can be a great area to expand into.

Talk to us more about your web presence and how you're doing by emailing: or and we'll organise a call.

Being Content with Content

Being Content with Content

You’ve built the website, the client loves it and the early stages of testing are looking promising, there’s just one problem – you don’t have any real content.

The word ‘content’ can be daunting and overarching. There’s an entire website/app/platform and somebody needs to fill it with engaging, witty, relevant words and images that will bring users from far and wide. No pressure then.

What is content?

Content can be used as a catchall term but at its core it is information – pages, events, blogs, videos, illustrations, graphs, photos can all be described as ‘content’.

Without it, most websites would be a series of shapes and colours that didn’t communicate anything.

Staring into the abyss

Timing is crucial. Get the content as early as you can. If the site is replacing an old one and the client already has content, fantastic, ask them to send it to you as soon as they can. This is mutually beneficial as it can be used to influence the design and they can see it in situ to get a feel for how the finished site will look.

Whether you have content already, or you’re starting from scratch, the first step to dealing with the content behemoth is to break it down. Break it into small, manageable steps and then break it down again. Figure out what type of information you need for each page type, and what format it needs to be in. Then make a list of the minimum amount of content you need to launch.

For instance, if your new website has events, news and cms pages you may need a minimum of 3 upcoming events, 3 news stories and 17 specific pages of information.


Bridging the divide

Now that you know what you need, you need to know who is responsible for creating it. If you’re working from the ground up, you may need to assign content. Perhaps you, as the digital agency will be writing some of the support documents, such as a list of cookies used and the client is doing the rest? Maybe the client has the words but they need some help with the images? Maybe they have it all in hand.

Figure out what is being created, or sourced by who and keep track as your content folder starts to fill.

Writer’s Block

You may be met with resistance ‘I’m not a writer’, ‘I don’t know what I want to say’, ‘There’s too much to do in the time frame’. If you’ve worked out the minimum amount of content you need and who’s creating it, all that’s left is to know what you want to communicate and who you want to communicate it to.

If you have a page of fact sheets, maybe a bulleted list of links is the way to go? If you’re reporting on a recent workshop, perhaps a captioned video with a small amount of text underneath.

Being content

The most important thing is to factor it in. It’s all too easy to spend hours building a beautiful backend, throw yourself into absolutely nailing the CSS and then discover that there’s nothing to fill the page but 3 stock images and some well-placed lorem ipsum.

Don’t be complacent about content – you want users to come to your website for the content and stay for the excellent UI.

Frances Smolinski

Created on Wednesday June 26 2019 08:00 AM

Tags: website web-design content contentstrategy

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We love our customers :)

We love our customers :)

Recently some of the Focus team attended an event where we spoke about the work we do and the way do it.

It made me realise that one of the most rewarding elements of my role is our ongoing customer relationships. We've worked with many of our customers for several years, and developed trusted and enjoyable relationships with their teams. Because of this, we keep in regular contact, and review their Website or App progress, report on and explain Analytics, gain yours - and your end-user's - feedback, and hold consultation sessions to ensure regular and angling improvement and development. It's this deep understanding and commitment that means we continually improve and enhance our digital solutions for you, because we understand your needs, objectives and KPIs. We also understand digital - so it really is a winning combination :-)

I talked honesty and passionately about this at the event - and it wasn’t hard because it’s completely true. How lucky am I to have a job that I genuinely enjoy and that sincerely matters to me - and to work with such an engaged and enthusiastic team.

Annette Ryske

Created on Thursday June 20 2019 12:17 PM

Tags: clientservices

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18th Century Mathematician Helps Us Check An Algorithm

18th Century Mathematician Helps Us Check An Algorithm

The other day, I was discussing with one of the developers here at Focus how to approach a problem whereby we’d send off a message to a third party software service, and we wanted to know when they’d processed our message.

The problem was: we didn’t know exactly how long it would take - perhaps it would be a few seconds, perhaps a minute or more - but it seemed unlikely (from our testing) to take more than a few minutes.

We could have checked to see if they were finished every second, but that seemed a little too often - but we did want to know fairly quickly, so we didn’t want to wait minutes before checking.

We decided on a solution of a simple “backing-off” algorithm - we’d check, wait 1 second, check, wait 2 seconds, check, wait 3 seconds, check, and so on.

This means that if the process does take a while, we get gradually more relaxed about checking again as time goes on; after the 30th check, we wait 30 seconds before checking again.

(Significantly more advanced approaches may be used for this kind of algorithm, but this simple approach seemed good enough here.)

However, I thought we should sanity check ourselves - if we allowed, say, 50 of these checks, how long are we waiting at a maximum? A few minutes? An hour? Several hours? More? How can we tell?

Carl Friedrich Gauss

Gauss was an 18th Century mathematician who made a large number of contributions to many fields in maths and science, and demonstrated his skills from an early age.

There is an anecdote, which may or may not be true, but remains a good story, that whilst at primary school, his teacher asked him (perhaps to “keep him quiet” for a while!) to add up all the numbers from 1 to 100.

His teacher, we can assume, thought it would take him quite some time  to add 1 plus 2 (3), plus 3 (6), plus 4 (10), plus 5 (15), plus 6 (21) ... and so on - and of course the additions would get harder as you went onwards.

The teacher was therefore rather surprised when Gauss gave the correct answer - 5,050 - within just a few seconds.

Gauss had realised that, if you imagine the sequence of numbers in a line, the first and last numbers - 1 and 100 - when added, would produce 101. Imagine, then, the next pair inwards - 2 and 99 - they also add up to 101. So does the next pair - 3 and 98 - 4 and 97 - 5 and 96 - and so on.

In effect, you’re adding 50 pairs of numbers, all of which add up to 101.

50 times 101 is 5,050, as a primary school child can indeed tell you. (A theory I’ve tested successfully on my youngest primary school child!)

Back to our algorithm

Our problem is, of course, the same - we’re adding 1 second + 2 seconds + 3 seconds and so on, up to 50.

So, we have 25 pairs of numbers, each adding up to 51.

25 times 51 = 1,275 seconds, which equals just over 21 minutes.

This seems to fit our requirements well - 20 minutes is a fair amount of time to wait - if the third party service isn’t complete by then, it seems reasonable to assume it’s failed, and we can take the appropriate steps to follow-up manually.

Thanks, Carl

Whether or not the anecdote is true, exaggerated or apocryphal, it’s a lovely example of how a little clever thinking can make what seems like a slow manual process (adding 1, plus 2, plus 3, plus 4, plus 5 .. and so on ...) into a fairly straightforward calculation.

If you’d like the team here at This is Focus to see if we can find any clever solutions to your manual business processes, please do get in touch with us!

(Image from Wikipedia, in the public domain.)

Neil Smith

Created on Tuesday June 18 2019 09:35 AM

Tags: programming

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There are 3 responses to design - yes, no and WOW!

There are 3 responses to design - yes, no and WOW!

“Create a professional logo in minutes with our free logo maker!” - Stop where you are!... now back away slowly before the ‘free’ logo wrecker maker lures you in and costs you money and your credibility.

I can’t deny they can be pretty fun to play with but your organisation or cause is not a game. A logo is one of the most important branding investments a business can make. It defines you. It’s the key to creating a powerful brand.

If you’re thinking big the goal is of course instant recognition without the need to see the name. As a graphic designer Apple’s apple with a bite taken out of it fills me with a joy I ought to be embarrassed to admit (fortunately for this blog I have no shame).

Multinational companies can spend millions on their logos. BP spent £136m on its sunflower design they’ve had almost 20 years of use out of. Longevity in logo design is key. Other big firms with a logo made up simply of their name written in stylised text can spend hundreds of thousands on a new font, or different colour. I’m not suggesting you need to spend obscene amounts of money for a logo to be successful but it does need thought, it needs meaning then it will serve its purpose.

Find a good creative team that’s in it for the right reasons and before you know it you’ll be looking down your nose at the Starbucks mermaid and still have the money to buy a Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato.

If you’re looking to create a brand or rebrand an existing one, keep in mind a good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic and simple in form. Here are a few principles to follow throughout the process. Make sure it is: 

  • Simple - simplicity is versatile and sits clearly on promotional material of all sizes, it’s easily recognised and memorable
  • Memorable - distinct, clear, unique logos will provoke immediate association and be remembered for years
  • Timeless - avoid elements that date i.e. a computer icon. Trends change, consider whether it will be effective in 5+ years
  • Versatile - Does it work in black and white? Scaled up or down your logo should still be effective, picture it on a pen and a billboard
  • Appropriate - Who will see it? Is it appropriate for it’s intended audience? You may consider a funky font for young people but ensure it’s not condescending 

Your logo is how people recognise you, it helps express how you're different from others - warmer, greener, stronger, and so on. People need a visual to help build the impression you want to create.

As Milton Glaser, designer of the I ❤ NY logo, once said “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!” aim for wow with a creative team that understands you and what you want to achieve, and they’ll help you do just that. If you think focus can help you achieve your digital goals, why not start the process and get in touch?

Jordana Jeffrey

Created on Wednesday June 05 2019 10:53 AM


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Welcome Stephanie!

Hi I’m Stephanie, or Steph, the new Account Manager here at Focus. I’ve just about finished setting my new laptop up (I’m the only one in the office to choose Windows over a MacBook!), I’ve sorted my desk out how I like it and am done with all the various downloading, signing up and signing in that needs to be done. I’ve read all those first day documents and have started looking at some of our clients and the work we do with them.

I’m so excited to get stuck in and start helping our local authority clients. No doubt a few of you will hear from me soon or see me in various project meetings as I’m sure I’ll be out and about visiting on a regular basis.

Before starting at Focus HQ I had been doing Account management and new business sales for a digital agency that specialises in accountants for 5 years so I’m all too familiar with the importance of a digital presence and how it can help a business or organisation grow whether in revenue or the special message they want to purvey to their users.

Outside of this new adventure I am a mum of two and family is everything to me. I’m a huge foodie, carbs and cheese are my biggest downfall and I love a good film or boxset (I have no idea what to do with myself now Game of Thrones is over!). I also try to keep fit, I enjoy running and have recently signed up for my 2nd full Tough Mudder to raise money for Macmillan cancer support, a charity super close to my heart.

Steph Liddington

Created on Monday June 03 2019 08:55 AM


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GDPR What does this mean for businesses?

If you’ve read our other posts on the GDPR - Introduction to GDPR and What it means for Individuals - you’re probably well informed about the basics. If you haven’t, here’s a brief overview to start you off.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the replacement for the Data Protection ACT (DPA). It comes into effect on the 25th May 2018 and is regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in the UK. Although the GDPR does share a lot of similarities with the DPA, there are some significant changes that will need thought and preparation in order to adhere to and avoid complaint or fines.

At first glance GDPR may seem like a regulation that will affect only web companies, but really it’s a change for all businesses that hold people’s personal details -  from commerce to banking; from recruiters to universities and hospitals. 

GDPR will mean big changes to how you gather, hold and share contact information but this transition doesn’t need to be painful, there are some steps you can start taking right now that will help the process run smoothly. 

Following the guidelines from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) we’ve outlined a twelve step checklist.

Step 1: Awareness

Decision makers and key people in your organisation should be aware that the data protection laws are changing. You could also hold a knowledge share to get the whole staff on board - everyone needs to appreciate the impact this is likely to have and help to identify areas that could cause compliance problems under the GDPR. If you have a risk register, this would be a great place to start.

Many organisations, especially those with larger or more complicated structures may have to take on extra staff in order to adhere to and maintain the GDPR.

Step 2. Information you hold
Do you know what personal data your organisation holds? Do you know where it’s held and who is responsible for sourcing and updating it? Every business will need to know this information to comply with the GDPR’s accountability principle. 

A great starting point is to conduct an information audit across the organisation. The GDPR will require you to keep records of how you process personal data; if you’ve passed incorrect data on you’ll need to make sure whoever’s using it now has the correct information. Getting a handle on what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with now will mean proper data protection principles will be second nature by the time the GDPR comes into force. 

Step 3: Communicating privacy information

If you have a privacy notice, now would be a great time to update it. If you don’t have a privacy notice, you need to find out how your organisation is communicating who you are and what you’re going to do with the personal data you’re collecting. There are many online tools that can help you to write your Privacy Notice.

Under the GDPR you will need to give people more information when you collect personal data, such as your lawful basis for processing the data, how long you intend to hold onto it and that they can complain to the ICO if they think there’s an issue with how you’re handling their data. You need to explain this in concise, easy to understand language and it can’t be buried somewhere at the bottom of the page. The ICO’s Privacy notices code of practice has been updated to comply with the requirements of the GDPR. 

Step 4: Individuals’ rights 

As covered in our post on the individual’s rights under the GDPR, Individuals rights will include

  • the right to be informed
  • the right of access
  • the right to rectification
  • the right to erasure
  • the right to restrict processing
  • the right to data portability
  • the right to object
  • the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling

For the most part, these are similar to the individual’s rights under the Data Protection Act (DPA) but there have been some significant upgrades. If your organisation already accommodates the DPA rights, the transition to the GDPR should be fairly seamless. This is a great opportunity to check that you meet the eight rights above and upgrade your processes if you’re not quite there yet.

One process to check is what you would do if someone contacted you and said they wanted their personal data deleted from your system. Who has the authority to delete that data? Would your system allow it to be located easily? Did you pass the data on to anyone else? If the data needed to be moved to another company, is it in a standard, machine-readable format?

If you have data from years ago collecting dust in ad hoc spreadsheets now would be the time to discuss with your organisation if it’s time to streamline your database. 

Step 5: Subject access requests
People may ask to access their personal data and they have every right to but there are some guidelines on how this will work under the new regulation.

Currently organisations have 40 days to comply with a data request - this will be one month under the GDPR and, in most cases, you will not be able to charge for this. You can refuse requests that are unfounded or excessive but you must explain why. The individual then has a right to complain to the supervisory authority.

If your organisation gets a lot of requests for access, think about if you would be able to meet these within the new timeframe. if not - what systems could you put in place to either speed things up or let individuals easily and securely access their own data online?

Step 6: Lawful basis for processing personal data
You need to know why your organisation collects personal information and what your legal basis for processing it is. 

This may not have been something you’ve thought about before but you’ll need to know - if you don’t have a strong reasoning, an individual has every right to ask you to delete their personal data (see Step 4) and you must respect their wishes. 

If your CRM, website or company address book is full of contact details that you’re not using, discuss auditing the information now to save your organisation time after the GDPR.

Step 7: Consent

You may currently ask for consent when you acquire personal data but how is this information managed? Could you find a record of the consent if asked? 

Check if your consent process meets the GDPR standard and refresh it if it doesn’t.

Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Opt-in must be positive and consent cannot be inferred from silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity. It must be kept separate from other terms and conditions, and withdrawing consent should be simple.

Step 8: Children
Most organisations will have a very clear idea of whether or not they hold the personal data of children on file so will know whether or not this will affect them. 

However, under the GDPR, you will need to the consent of a parent or guardian to process the data of anyone under the age of 16 (this may be lowered to a minimum of 13 in the UK) so it would be worth finding out how you verify the age of anyone you collect personal data from. If you do collect children’s personal data, you could make sure that your privacy notice is written in language that can be understood by someone under 16. 

Step 9: Data breaches
The ICO takes data breaches very seriously and some organisations are already required to notify them when they suffer a personal data breach. Under the GDPR all organisations will be 
likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals.

If the breach could result in an individual facing discrimination, damage to reputation or financial loss (for example) you will have 72 hours to notify the ICO and you may need to identify the individuals at risk too. Failure to report a breach could lead to a hefty fine as well as a fine for the breach itself. 

For a lot of organisations this is the most concerning aspect of the changes the GDPR will bring with it - whether your company is large or small, it would be a good idea to discuss what you would do in the case of a data breach and think about putting procedures in place for everyone to follow if they suspect one.

Step 10: Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments
Privacy by Design has always been a good idea but under the GDPR it will be a legal requirement. This means that privacy and data protection compliance are considered from the start of a project through to the end. Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) are a good way to determine whether you’re working in a way that promotes Privacy by Design. Under the GDPR PIAs will become ‘Data Protection Impact Assessments’ (DPIAs) and will be mandatory under certain circumstances.

A DPIA is required when data processing is likely to put individuals personal data at risk e.g. where a new technology is being deployed, where a profiling operation is likely to significantly affect individuals, or where there is processing on a large scale of special categories of data. If a DPIA shows that the data processing is high risk, and you can’t address those risks, you will have to consult the ICO to seek its opinion on whether the processing operation complies with the GDPR.

The Article 29 Working Party has details on how PIAs can link to other processes such as risk management and project management.

Step 11: Data Protection Officers
Organisations such as public authorities, large businesses or companies that carry out the regular and systematic monitoring of individuals on a large scale should appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO). 

The DPO will be responsible for data protection compliance and will be an authority on both what the ICO requires for your organisation to meet the GDPR and the data processing procedures within your organisation. This is an important role and appointment should not be taken lightly. The DPO will need to be fully supported by the team to be able to work effectively.

Step 12: International
If all your offices are in the UK and you only conduct business here then you only need to adhere to the information provided by the ICO.

If you conduct business in more than one EU member state, you need to figure out who your lead data protection supervisory authority is. Whichever EU State your main office is in (or wherever your main processing decisions are made) they will be the authority in charge of GDPR for the region.


It could be argued that it doesn’t make sense for UK companies to overhaul their systems to meet EU legislation when the UK plans to leave the EU in the next two years. However, GDPR will come into effect in May 2018, long before Brexit officially happens so UK companies will not be exempt from GDPR legislation.

In October of 2016, Karen Bradley, secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport was quoted as saying "We will be members of the EU in 2018 and therefore it would be expected and quite normal for us to opt into the GDPR and then look later at how best we might be able to help British business with data protection while maintaining high levels of protection for members of the public."

Click here to see our Intro to the GDPR

Click here to find out what the GDPR means for Individuals

If you would like to talk about changes you can make to your company website in relation to GDPR, call us on 0117 9498008 or email

For more details on the GDPR, see the ICO website

Frances Smolinski

Created on Wednesday May 16 2018 04:03 PM

Tags: gdpr

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GDPR - What does this mean for individuals?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming into force on the May 25th 2018. The GDPR is widely viewed as good news for individuals. It will be easier than ever before for you to take control of your personal information and the privacy of your data.

You’ll be able to decide who you want processing your information and who you don’t - it should be as easy to withdraw consent as to grant it.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has laid out clear rights that the GDPR will give everyone. Under this new regulation you now have the following rights -

• the right to be informed -
If a business wants your data, you have a right to know why, if they’re already using it you have the right to know where they got it from. The GDPR aims to take the power over your personal information from the hands of businesses and put it back into yours. 

• the right of access -

Provided you’re asking for a valid reason and your requests aren’t repetitive to the point of nuisance, you have the right to access the information an organisation has on you, free of charge.

• the right to rectification -
If you discover that a business holds your personal data and it’s incorrect or incomplete, you can request that they change it and they must rectify the error within 1 month of that request.

• the right to erasure -
A.K.A ’the right to be forgotten’ - if an organisation has no significant reason to keep your data they must delete it if you ask. The hope is that this will go some way to stopping nuisance calls and spam emails in their tracks.

• the right to restrict processing -
If an organisation has to keep your data (e.g. for legal reason or reference) you can still block it from being processed any further. If the company does use that data or pass it on, you will be able to report them to the relevant supervisory authority (the ICO in the UK)

• the right to data portability -
Changing service providers can be a surprisingly difficult and overwhelming errand at the best of times but, under the GDPR, If you want to move bank, insurer or even social media site all your personal data must be provided in a common, easy to access format, for free, within a month.

• the right to object -
Under the GDPR, you have the right to object to your data being held, processed, or being used to profile you for direct marketing. Just one more way in which the GDPR aims to give individuals back control of their information. 

• the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling -
Often companies will use data to make assumptions about a customer or even a potential customer. These assumptions can be harmless but they can also become annoying or even upsetting. Under the GDPR, a company may not use your data to predict personal details such as health, personal preferences or location.

Moving Forward

As an individual, you don’t have to do anything to prepare for the GDPR but it is important to know your rights once it comes into force and to speak up if your data’s being mishandled.

A lot of businesses are getting ready right now, so you will start to see or have already seen sign up pages with more information than before, you may also have seen emails asking you to confirm if you still want to be on mailing lists. It’s going to be a big change but it should be a positive one.

Click here to see our Intro to the GDPR

Click here to find out what the GDPR means for Businesses

If you would like to talk about changes you can make to your company website in relation to GDPR, call us on 0117 9498008 or email

For more details on the GDPR, see the ICO website

Frances Smolinski

Created on Tuesday May 08 2018 03:51 PM

Tags: gdpr

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